UWI lecturer gives thumbs down to economic citizenship programmes

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday January 29, 2016 – The Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, has given the thumbs down to economic citizenship.

Dr David Berry said it is “deeply worrying” that some Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have gone that route, saying “I think it harms all of us.”

He made the comments last night at a panel discussion titled ‘Stay ah Yuh Yaad’, which explored xenophobia in the Caribbean.

dr david berry

Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Dr David Berry. (Photo: UWI)

Before a packed audience comprised mostly of students he was asked about the implications of economic citizenship to the CARICOM free movement regime.

Quoting from Article 32 subsection five of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, he said a person should be regarded as a national of a member state if such person is a citizen of that state.

“So, if you go to Grenada and get economic citizenship are you a citizen? Yes. So you have a right as a CARICOM skilled national, even if your name is Osama bin Laden, to move to another CARICOM state,” he said.

Another issue raised during the discussion related to the imposition of a requirement for Muslim and Rastafarian women to remove their headwear when applying for identification cards, passports and driver’s licences or other official documents at some government departments.

In response, Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies, Dr Don Marshall said he would support any kind of resistance to repression or threats to civil liberties.

“If there are any hastag movements I’m going to sign up because I do agree with the point about that thin line between my freedom to practice religion and to practice my faith. I do believe security is an issue but it could be taken too far,” Dr Marshall said.

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